Strange Angel: First Trailer Turns Science into Magic

CBS All-Access series Strange Angel trailer points the stars upside down as Jack Parsons learns rocket science only gets you so high.

“Who says we always have to obey,” asks the new trailer for Strange Angel, which dropped for the Beltane. Jack Parsons, the black magic rocket scientist the series is based on, certainly didn’t obey. He believed man was blessed and denied any god who taught different. The scientific Parsons, who worked with the Great Beast himself, Aleister Crowley, understood he could find wisdom in irrational and unknown directions.

Sing Street‘s Jack Reynor plays Jack Parsons who, along with Crowley and the Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, created the space exploration leader Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

CBS All Access dropped the first trailer for Strange Angel, showing Jack Parsons finding that what fuels his rockets is on tap from Crowley. The series was created by Mark Heyman, who made Black Swan, and The Skeleton Twins. The series is based on George Pendle’s book Strange Angel, telling the real story of Jack Parsons and where science fact and fiction share space, all within the laws of both Quantum Physics and Thelema.

The trailer shows the makings of a deal from the bottom of the deck to the devil. The “brilliant and ambitious blue-collar worker in 1930s Los Angeles, works as a janitor at a chemical factory but dreams of building rockets that will take mankind to the moon. As he helps pioneer the unknown discipline of rocket Science by day, by night, Parsons is pulled into a new occult religion created by Aleister Crowley, performing sex magick rituals to bend the world to his will and make his fantastical dreams a reality,” reads the updated synopsis.

Ad – content continues below

Pete’s Dragon director David Lowery directed the pilot, and will be guiding more episodes of the drama, which is being produced by Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions. In addition to Sing Street, Reynor has appeared in Transformers: Age of Extinction, Detroit, and Free Fire

Drama series Strange Angel was created by Mark Heyman (Black Swan, The Wrestler). It is based on the 2006 book of the same name by George Pendle. The series will “the dramatic intersection between genius and madness, science and science fiction,” according to the official synopsis.

Strrange Trailer

Strange Angel Release Date

Strange Angel is set to arrive on Thursday, June 14 on CBS All-Access.

The inaugural season will consist of 10 episodes, which will be available on demand weekly on Thursdays.

Strange Angel Details

Joining star Jack Reynor in the cast are Phil Abrams (Kingdom), Kurt Ela (Impastor), Louis Mustillo (Mike & Molly), Bella Heathcote (The Man in the High Castle), Rupert Friend (Homeland), Peter Mark Kendall (Chicago Med) and Michael Gaston (The Leftovers).

“The story follows the life of Jack Parsons, a mysterious and brilliant man in 1940s Los Angeles, who by day helps birth the entirely unknown discipline of American rocketry, and by night is a performer of sex magick rituals and a disciple to occultist Aleister Crowley.”

Ad – content continues below

Parsons started following Crowley in 1938. The founder of the Thelemic religion called himself “The Great Beast 666.” British press called him the “wickedest man in the world.” Crowley joined the Ordo Templi Orientis, or O.T.O., in 1910 and went on to lead it.  Crowley transformed the Freemasonry-influenced group with the help of a little Sex Magick.

Cal Tech scientist Parsons and his wife Helen joined the O.T.O.’s Pasadena chapter, known as the Agape Lodge, in 1939. It was led at the time by Wilfred Talbot Smith. By 1944, Parsons replaced Smith as acting master of the lodge. Parsons’ wife replaced Parsons with Smith. During this time, Parsons also formed a commune he called “The Parsonage” in Pasadena, which included future science fiction master Robert Heinlein, and Hubbard. As part of rocketry’s Suicide Club, Parsons chanted Crowley’s “Hymn to Pan” before he launched test rockets.

On Jan. 14, 1946, Parsons, Crowley and Hubbard performed the Babalon Working, a few months before Crowley’s death in 1947.

“I had been engaged in the study and practice of Magick for seven years, and in the supervision and operation of an occult lodge for four years, having been initiated into the Sanctuary of the Gnosis by the Beast 666, Fra. 132, and Fra. Saturnus,” Parsons wrote in his The Book of Babalon. “At this time I decided upon a Magical operation designed to obtain the assistance of an elemental mate. This is a well known procedure in Magick consisting of the invocation of a spirit or elemental into tangible existence by various magical techniques.”

Parsons conducted the rituals from January through March 1946, corresponding with a marked increase in reports of UFO observations now called the “Great Flying Saucer Flap.” Some people believe Parsons opened a door and something flew in.

“The light system of the house failed at about 9 p.m.,” Parsons wrote. “Another magician [Hubbard] who had been staying at the house and studying with me, was carrying a candle across the kitchen when he was struck strongly on the right shoulder, and the candle knocked out of his hand. He called me, and we observed a brownish yellow light about seven feet high in the kitchen. I brandished a magical sword and it disappeared. His right arm was paralyzed for the rest of the night.”

Ad – content continues below

The O.T.O issued The Lam Statement, explaining the ritual as a dedicated to “regularizing the mode of rapport and constructing a magical formula for establishing communication with Lam,” known to be a link between the star systems of Sirius and Andromeda.

Of course, magical scholars point to a different origin for the visitors. The Babalon Working was an attempt to incarnate a goddess on Earth.

“Babalon is the Divine Feminine not an ET,” Hollywood Witch Marie Bargas told Den of Geek. “She is the Scarlet Woman.”

Regardless of what you might call whatever Parsons let in, it was out of this world.

John Parsons died in a chemical explosion at the age of 37 on June 17, 1952.

“The addition of Strange Angel,” Marc DeBevoise, President and Chief Operating Officer of CBS Interactive told the network’s biannual Television Critics Association presentation this past summer (via Coming Soon), “our first series based on original IP, No Activity, our first comedy series, and $1, an innovative thriller, builds on the tremendous momentum CBS All Access has generated in its first season of original programming with The Good Fight and the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery.”

Ad – content continues below